Philosophical Quotes

Philosophical Quotes

The following are some philosophical quotes made by famous people:

1.″The unexamined life is not worth living″ Socrates (470-399 BCE)
Socrates had a passion for self-examination; therefore he always not only examined his life but also the lives of people around him. He constantly questioned people about their values and beliefs thus forcing them to scrutinize their own lives and convictions. Socrates was concerned when he saw his fellow Athenians sleepwalking through life seeking momentarily pleasure in fame, money and power .He was so passionate about their quality of life that he went out of his way to try and assist them to live a better life by forcing them to reflect upon life and find the real value for living.

2.″Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily″-William of Ockham (1285-1349)
William was a Franciscan priest who was also known as Ockham’s razor. His reasoning was that in judging among competing scientific and philosophical theories if all things are perceived as equal it is important to take the simplest theory. Modern scientists speak about the four forces in the universe such as the strong nuclear force, gravity, electromagnetic force and the weak nuclear force. William would simply nod at their attempt to make a grand unified theory in an attempt to formulate a single force that encompasses all four.

3.″I think therefore I am“-Rene Descartes (1596-1650)
Rene Descartes had an affinity of doubting everything as he attempted to find out what he would know with absolute certainty. He accepted that he could be wrong about what he was thinking but what he was thinking was undeniable. Upon realizing that ″I think″ he concluded that ″I am″

Descartes constantly asked ″What am I? ″ His answer was ″A thinking thing″ which is not like a physical thing that is extended in 3-dimensional space. Basing his convictions on this line Descartes knew for sure that he existed although he was not very sure if he had a body.

4.″The life of a man is solitary, nasty, poor, short and brutish″-Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
This was one of the famous philosophical quotes made by Thomas Hobbes who did not see any reason why human beings should be nostalgic. His perception of the human existence slightly differed with Rousseau’s perception aptly captured by his famous quote ″Man is born free, yet he is everywhere in chains″.

Hobbles described the human existence as a state of impossible, savage life without education or protection of the state. He sums up human nature as bad and wicked with the following words ″we prey on one another in the most vicious ways and it is no wonder that the state curtails our liberty in an overwhelming manner″. Although Hobbes saw the state as curtailing human freedom yet he believed that the state was right in restraining people from harming one another.

5.″We live in the best of all possible worlds″ Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716)
Leibniz held that prior to creation God contemplated everything about the universe therefore he chose to create the one in which we live because he believes it is the best.

This principle seeks to show that there is a reason for everything so there must be a good reason why everything exists. According to Leibniz there is only one good reason for living in this world; God made it as the best possible universe. Leibniz argued that God would have made a universe in which no one ever did something wrong, a world where human evil do not exist. Such a world would deprive human beings of the gift of free-will hence it would not the most ideal world for human existence.

6.″If a tree fall in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? ″ Bishop George Berkeley (1685-1753)
Bishop Berkeley was an idealist and believed that nothing is real except minds and ideas. He believed that ideas do not exist independently of minds. Following a flawed and complicated line of reasoning he concluded that″ to be is to be perceived″, therefore something only exists if someone has an idea about it.

Berkeley never put the above words exactly as they are in this famous quote but he felt that if a tree fell in a forest and there was not even a squirrel to hear it ,not only would it not make a sound but there would be no tree. As a Christian Berkeley claimed that God perceives everything so even the tree will make a sound by its fall .This means there is no need to be concerned about blipping out of existence even if you fall asleep in a room all by yourself.

7.″Who is aware of the tremendous risk involved in faith-when he makes the leap of faith- this is subjectivity… at its height.″ Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)

This is one of the philosophical quotes that may have been inspired by the memorable scene from Indian Jones and the Last Crusade where Indy perceived that the final step across the treacherous path was a leap of faith. This bears a lot of similarity to Kierkegaard’s theory about the stages of life. According to him the final stage which is the religious stage requires passion and a subjective belief rather than an objective proof which is absurd and paradoxical .What is absurd? It is what Christianity asks human beings to accept as true, that God became man, was born of a virgin, was cruelly murdered and resurrected.

According to Kierkegaard Abraham was a knight of faith. In a state of fear and trembling he was willing to sacrifice his son when he was requested by God and was willing to break the universal moral principle against murder. God rewarded Abraham’s faith by providing a ram in place for the sacrifice. Kierkegaard says that faith has its own rewards but it is not rational since it is beyond reason.

8.″There is but one truly serious philosophical problem that is suicide″ Albert Camus (1913 -1960)
Camus is known for making philosophical quotes including the above saying. His solution for philosophical problems was that if the absurdity of life proves too much suicide is always an option. His perception of life and death fuelled the speculation about his death in an accident as many wondered whether it was actually a suicide or an accident.

Camus had an unusually hero, Sisyphus character in Greek mythology that is condemned by gods to roll a stone up and down a hill repeatedly. According to him Sisyphus typified human beings who must find a meaning for their lives in the world that is often hostile and unresponsive. At some point in his life Camus wrote ″The struggle towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart ″.